“We don’t know the reasons; the co-pilot is under custody in Geneva, so we don’t know the reason why he did this. Of course, it is undesired and unbecoming of a pilot at the airline, but since we don’t know a reason or the cause behind it, it would be too early to prejudge now and come to any kind of analysis or recommendation,” says Gebremariam.
He adds that neither the hijacking nor the grounding of one of an Ethiopian 787 at London Heathrow after a battery fire last year have done any lasting damage to the airline’s brand or customers’ propensity to fly with them.
“I would say we handled them quite well. I don’t think that they have left any damage to the brand; the brand is still strong and they were isolated incidents,” he says.
“One has nothing to do with Ethiopian – that was the 787 incident at London. It was an aeroplane that has flown successfully, completed its flight and had been parked for nine hours before the incident.”